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Rorate-Caeil: Amazon Synod - Various articles.


So the exhortation has been published and is not as bad as feared, but perhaps it remains bad.

I have collected a number of articles from Rorate. Time allowing I'll search more and form my own opinion.


BREAKING — On the Amazon Synod document, let’s remain positive

Rorate-Caeli: On the Amazon Synod Document, let's remain positive

Rorate has learned that, at the current state of the text, Catholics should remain positive regarding the most controversial points of the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation “Querida Amazonia”, to be published tomorrow.

We cannot say anything, unfortunately, but we refer readers to the first paragraph of this post we published last week:

La Fede Quotidiana has learned of an important fact relating to the coming papal document on the subject of the Amazon. And this fact, unless modified at the last moment, contradicts what has been recently reported concerning a text in which a yes is given to viri probati and the married priesthood. Those who saw this text two days ago (it will almost certainly be presented on February 12) said that the two hotly debated categories are not mentioned in the document and thus there is no official opening up [to them].

We also point readers to the following excerpt of a piece published yesterday by the US bishops’ official news website. We can affirm that it is an exact reference to  the text as it stands:

Pope Francis told a group of U.S. bishops that people focused on the possibility of ordaining some married men and women deacons for service in the Amazon will be disappointed in his apostolic exhortation.

Apostolic Exhortation “Querida Amazonia” — full text
Full Text of the papal document following the Amazon Synod

Rorate-Caeli: Apostolic Exhortation “Querida Amazonia” — full text

Notes: Regarding the priesthood and the Eucharist, we call your attention in particular to Paragraphs 82-98.[Tradicat pps 25-
No opening whatsoever was made for the ordination of married men/viri probati to the Priesthood. On the contrary, in the spirit of making clear clericalism is not central, there is an emphasis on the lay ministry as "distinctively lay" (cf. paragraph 94).
The paragraphs on women (99-103) also do not have any revolutionary content.
Paragraphs 104-105 make clear that the path forward should not be an either/or, but solutions beyond conflicts of the past.

One particular good point is the one of Paragraph 18, with extensive historical references in footnote 17,  making clear the permanent solicitude of the Church, through various pontificates, and since the earliest days of Christian presence in the New World, for the welfare of the indigenous peoples. Specific reference is made even to the Laws of the Indies (Leyes de las Indias), promulgated by the Spanish Crown with specific protections for the indigenous populations. The 1909 text of one of the first bishops of Amazonas (Manaus), Brazil, Frederico Benicio, named by Saint Pius X to that extensive territory, is expressly quoted.
Despite all problems (the downsides are numerous), we can rightly say that this is the best possible document we could have hoped for in the current pontificate and in the current age. It is not the best document (that would be impossible in the current moment in time), but it is, in a Leibnizian way, the best possible text...

Tradicat: the full text can be found on the here (and on rorate). .... but here are paragraphs 82-98:

82. In the Eucharist, God, “in the culmination of the mystery of the incarnation, chose to reach our i ntimate depths through a fragment of matter”. The Eucharist “joins heaven and earth; i t embraces and penetrates all creation”. For this reason, i t can be a “motivation for our concerns for the environment, 116 directing us to be stewards of all creation”. In this sense, “encountering God 117
does not mean fleeing from this world or turning our back on nature”. It 118 means that we can take up i nto the l iturgy many elements proper to the experience of i ndigenous peoples i n their contact with nature, and respect native forms of expression i n song, dance, rituals, gestures and symbols. The Second Vatican Council called for this effort to i nculturate the l iturgy among indigenouspeoples; over fifty years have passed and we still have far to go along these 119 lines. 120

83. On Sunday, “Christian spirituality i ncorporates the value of relaxation and festivity. [ Nowadays] we tend to demean contemplative rest as something unproductive and unnecessary, but this i s to do away with the very thing which is most i mportant about work: i ts meaning. We are called to i nclude i n our work a dimension of receptivity and gratuity”. Aboriginal peoples are familiar with 121 this gratuity and this healthy contemplative l eisure. Our celebrations should help them experience this i n the Sunday l iturgy and encounter the l ight of God’s word and the Eucharist, which illumines our daily existence.

84. The sacraments reveal and communicate the God who i s close and who comes with mercy to heal and strengthen his children. Consequently, they should be accessible, especially for the poor, and must never be refused for financial reasons. Nor i s there room, i n the presence of the poor and forgotten  of the Amazon region, for a discipline that excludes and turns people away, for i n that way they end up being discarded by a Church that has become a toll-house. Rather, “in such difficult situations of need, the Church must be particularly concerned to offer understanding, comfort and acceptance, rather than i mposing straightaway a set of rules that only l ead people to feel j udged and abandoned by the very Mother called to show them God’s mercy”. For the Church, mercy can 122 become a mere sentimental catchword unless i t finds concrete expression i n her pastoral outreach. 123

Inculturation of forms of ministry

This, naturally, causes me concern and ...well the first paragraph seems to fulfill my concerns. Yet this is but another fruit of the Second Vatican Council.

85. Inculturation should also be i ncreasingly reflected i n an i ncarnate form of ecclesial organization and ministry. If we are to i nculturate spirituality, holiness and the Gospel i tself, how can we not consider an i nculturation of the ways we structure and carry out ecclesial ministries? The pastoral presence of the Church in the Amazon region i s uneven, due i n part to the vast expanse of the territory, its many remote places, i ts broad cultural diversity, i ts grave social problems, and the preference of some peoples to l ive i n i solation. We cannot remain unconcerned; a specific and courageous response is required of the Church.

86. Efforts need to be made to configure ministry i n such a way that i t i s at the service of a more frequent celebration of the Eucharist, even i n the remotest and most i solated communities. At Aparecida, all were asked to heed the l ament of the many Amazonian communities “deprived of the Sunday Eucharist for l ong periods of time”. There i s also a need for ministers who can understand 124 Amazonian sensibilities and cultures from within.

87. The way of shaping priestly l ife and ministry i s not monolithic; i t develops distinctive traits i n different parts of the world. This i s why i t i s i mportant to determine what i s most specific to a priest, what cannot be delegated. The answer l ies i n the sacrament of Holy Orders, which configures him to Christ the priest. The first conclusion, then, i s that the exclusive character received i n  Holy Orders qualifies the priest alone to preside at the Eucharist. That i s his 125 particular, principal and non-delegable function. There are those who think that what distinguishes the priest i s power, the fact that he i s the highest authority i n the community. Yet Saint John Paul II explained that, although the priesthood i s  considered “hierarchical”, this function i s not meant to be superior to the others, but rather i s  “totally ordered to the holiness of Christ’s members”. When the 126 priest i s said to be a sign of “Christ the head”, this refers principally to the fact that Christ i s the source of all grace: he i s the head of the Church because “he has the power of pouring out grace upon all the members of the Church”. 127

88. The priest i s a sign of that head and wellspring of grace above all when he celebrates the Eucharist, the source and summit of the entire Christian l ife. 128 That i s his great power, a power that can only be received i n the sacrament of Holy Orders. For this reason, only the priest can say: “This i s my body”. There are other words too, that he alone can speak: “I absolve you from your sins”. Because sacramental forgiveness i s at the service of a worthy celebration of the Eucharist. These two sacraments l ie at the heart of the priest’s exclusive i dentity. 129

89. In the specific circumstances of the Amazon region, particularly i n i ts forests and more remote places, a way must be found to ensure this priestly ministry. The l aity can proclaim God’s word, teach, organize communities, celebrate certain sacraments, seek different ways to express popular devotion and develop the multitude of gifts that the Spirit pours out i n their midst. But they need the celebration of the Eucharist because i t “makes the Church”. We can 130 even say that “no Christian community i s built up which does not grow from and hinge on the celebration of the most holy Eucharist”. If we are truly convinced 131 that this i s the case, then every effort should be made to ensure that the Amazonian peoples do not l ack this food of new l ife and the sacrament of forgiveness.

90. This urgent need l eads me to urge all bishops, especially those i n Latin America, not only to promote prayer for priestly vocations, but also to be more generous i n encouraging those who display a missionary vocation to opt for the Amazon region. At the same time, i t i s appropriate that the structure and 132 content of both i nitial and ongoing priestly formation be thoroughly revised, so that priests can acquire the attitudes and abilities demanded by dialogue with Amazonian cultures. This formation must be preeminently pastoral and favour the development of priestly mercy. 133 Communities filled with life

91. The Eucharist i s also the great sacrament that signifies and realizes the Church’s unity. It i s celebrated “so that from being strangers, dispersed and 134 indifferent to each another, we may become united, equals and friends”. The 135 one who presides at the Eucharist must foster communion, which i s not j ust any unity, but one that welcomes the abundant variety of gifts and charisms that the Spirit pours out upon the community.

92. The Eucharist, then, as source and summit, requires the development of that rich variety. Priests are necessary, but this does not mean that permanent deacons ( of whom there should be many more i n the Amazon region), religious women and l ay persons cannot regularly assume i mportant responsibilities for the growth of communities, and perform those functions ever more effectively with the aid of a suitable accompaniment.

93. Consequently, i t i s not simply a question of facilitating a greater presence of ordained ministers who can celebrate the Eucharist. That would be a very narrow aim, were we not also to strive to awaken new l ife i n communities. We need to promote an encounter with God’s word and growth i n holiness through various kinds of lay service that call for a process of education – biblical, doctrinal, spiritual and practical – and a variety of programmes of ongoing  formation.

94. A Church of Amazonian features requires the stable presence of mature and l ay l eaders endowed with authority and familiar with the l anguages, 136 cultures, spiritual experience and communal way of l ife i n the different places, but also open to the multiplicity of gifts that the Holy Spirit bestows on every one. For wherever there i s a particular need, he has already poured out the charisms that can meet i t. This requires the Church to be open to the Spirit’s boldness, to trust i n, and concretely to permit, the growth of a specific ecclesial culture that is distinctively l ay. The challenges i n the Amazon region demand of the Church a special effort to be present at every l evel, and this can only be possible through the vigorous, broad and active involvement of the laity.

95. Many consecrated persons have devoted their energies and a good part of their l ives i n service to the Kingdom of God i n Amazonia. The consecrated l ife, as capable of dialogue, synthesis, i ncarnation and prophecy, has a special place i n this diverse and harmonious configuration of the Church i n the Amazon region. But i t needs a new i mpetus to i nculturation, one that would combine creativity, missionary boldness, sensitivity and the strength typical of community life.

96. Base communities, when able to combine the defence of social rights with missionary proclamation and spirituality, have been authentic experiences of synodality i n the Church’s j ourney of evangelization i n the Amazon region. In many cases they “have helped form Christians committed to their faith, disciples and missionaries of the Lord, as i s attested by the generous commitment of so many of their members, even to the point of shedding their blood”. 137

97. I encourage the growth of the collaborative efforts being made through the Pan Amazonian Ecclesial Network and other associations to i mplement the proposal of Aparecida to “establish a collaborative ministry among the l ocal churches of the various South American countries i n the Amazon basin, with differentiated priorities”. This applies particularly to relations between 138 Churches located on the borders between nations.

98. Finally, I would note that we cannot always plan projects with stable communities i n mind, because the Amazonian region sees a great deal of i nternal mobility, constant and frequently pendular migration; “the region has effectively become a migration corridor”. “Transhumance in the Amazon has not been 139 well understood or sufficiently examined from the pastoral standpoint”. 140 Consequently, thought should be given to i tinerant missionary teams and “support provided for the presence and mobility of consecrated men and women closest to those who are most impoverished and excluded”. This i s also a challenge for our urban communities, which ought to come up with creative and generous ways, especially on the outskirts, to b

Analysis: "Querida Amazonia, a Blueprint for a Lay Church" - by Fr. Pio Pace, Roman Curia Insider

It has been a while, but Father Pio Pace, our pseudonymous very influential insider in the Roman Curia, was at last able to send us a special comment on the new post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis, Querida Amazonia.
Querida Amazonia: a document for a kind of "Lay Church"?

Father Pio Pace
Will married viri probati be ordained to the priesthood? This question was the focus of all the attention, before, during, and after the assembly of the Amazon Synod, and the bishops of the German 'Synodal Way' were mounting an ambush, getting ready to seize the issue to force the institutional transformation of the Church.

For all sorts of political and tactical reasons, the long-expected apostolic exhortation does not mention it. It does not reject the possibility (as it has been hastily claimed): it simply does not mention it. In fact, the exhortation goes much further, in the direction of a Laicized Church, in which the common priesthood of the baptized largely absorbs the priestly ministry, being mixed up with it.

Because this text, under a modest appearance, is actually very ambitious. One should read with great attention the beginning of the Exhortation: it is presented as a, "framework of reflection," which is an invitation to read the final document of the Synod (which speaks of priestly ordination of married deacons), but rises up to more fundamental, and certainly more radical, considerations. The central passage deals with the "Inculturation of ministry" (paragraphs 85-90), followed by thoughts on the communities (91-98), then on the role of women (99-103).

The main writer of the text (among the possibilities, it could be the astute Fr. Spadaro, the Jesuit director of La Civiltà Cattolica) proposes, in the name of the Pope, a laicized vision of the Church, fundamentally hostile to "clericalism", and that effectively surpasses, and eventually includes, the problematics of married priests within a much wider perspective.

Inculturation, says the writer, should also be expressed in the, "ecclesial organization and ministry." The priestly ministry should be rethought. It should not be reduced to the priest-cleric, whose specific power is that of Consecrating and of forgiving sins, which is indispensable to ensure, "a more frequent celebration of the Eucharist, even in the remotest and most isolated communities." On the other hand, the hierarchical power in the Church, which belongs to the priestly ministry, is not specific to the ordained minister: lay people, remaining lay people, will be able to exercise this other facet of the priestly ministry and to, "proclaim God’s word, teach, organize communities, celebrate certain sacraments, seek different ways to express popular devotion and develop the multitude of gifts that the Spirit pours out in their midst."
True, the communities will still need the celebration of the Eucharist and the forgiveness of sins, because, "every effort should be made to ensure that the Amazonian peoples do not lack this food of new life and the sacrament of forgiveness." It is here, in paragraph 90, what appears (wrongly) like a cold shower for all progressive forces and a relief for the conservatives: the Pope, instead of speaking of the priestly ordination of married deacons, simply urges prayer for priestly vocations, all the while making clear that, "it is appropriate that the structure and content of both initial and ongoing priestly formation be thoroughly revised, so that priests can acquire the attitudes and abilities demanded by dialogue with Amazonian cultures."
But, the document continues, more numerous permanent deacons are needed, as well as religious men and women and lay people who take over important responsibilities for the growth of the communities. It is necessary that these lay people, "perform those functions ever more effectively with the aid of a suitable accompaniment." Therefore, beyond the "narrow aim" of a greater presence of ordained ministers able to celebrate the Eucharist, this is about promoting "mature" laity who, while also being priestly (in the sense of the universal priesthood of the baptized) but remaining lay people, will lead the community. Those who are fixated upon the ordination of married men are, in sum, accused of clericalism, since it is much more important to promote a kind of Lay Church: "this requires the Church to be open to the Spirit’s boldness, to trust in, and concretely to permit, the growth of a specific ecclesial culture that is distinctively lay" (emphasized in the text). 

Nothing seems to completely exclude, however, that among these fully "mature" laymen, it is considered useful to ordain a certain number for the needs of the Eucharist. But, as Élodie Blogie explained in the Belgian daily Le Soir of February 12, the Pope provided, "a very Jesuit response," and, on this question, "very astutely," says neither yes nor no: he says nothing, and in fact he says more.

And, in a similar way, he notes that women baptize, proclaim the word, are missionaries, and that they should exercise power. First, as lay women, with all their femininity. But, "to believe that women would be granted a greater status and participation in the Church only [emphasis added] if they were admitted to Holy Orders," would be a "reductionism." This, "would in fact narrow our vision," it, "would lead us to clericalize women."

On this point, anyway, we feel perhaps a more 'reactionary' side of the thinking of the Pope, who, while presenting the project of a recomposition (Amazonian, then German, etc) of the face of the Church from which clericalism would be eradicated, teaches a lesson to feminists, whom he can barely stand: it is not necessary to, "trap us in partial conceptions of power in the Church": women who take charge of the Church, and without whom the Church would collapse, ought to do it in feminine fashion. 

De Mattei: Querida Amazonia: the consequences of the ‘turning point’ that never was 

 Rorate-Caeli: De Mattei

A temporary halt on “viri probati”;  the flop of the Amazon Synod; open conflict with the Amazonian-Germanic bishops.  These three points are contained in the dynamic initiated by Pope Francis’ Post-Synod Exhortation Querida Amazonua, presented on February 12th 2020.* There has been a great deal of suspenseful buildup around this Papal Exhortation, which put the final seal on the Amazon Synod, held in Rome from October 6th to 27th , 2019.** Both the Instrumentum Laboris (June 17th 2019) *** and the final document of October 26th proposed a new pantheistic cosmology expressed in the statue of the Pachamama, venerated in the Vatican Gardens and carried in procession into St. Peter’s, before being thrown into the Tiber by Alexander Tschugguel.  
This cosmological vision is the most scandalous aspect of the Pan-Amazon Synod, which, though, proposed other ambitious objectives, such as the introduction of viri probati: namely the admittance of married men to the priesthood, after John Paul II and Benedict XVI had categorically excluded this hypothesis, but had been pushed by the most progressive sectors in the Church since the time of the Second Vatican Council.  Paragraph 111 of the Final Document approved by the Synod had taken on a strong symbolic value over the last few months. This paragraph proposed “ to ordain as priests suitable and respected men of the community with a legitimately constituted and stable family, who have had a fruitful permanent diaconate and receive an adequate formation for the priesthood.”

While Pope Francis was working on the definitive text for his Exhortation, on January 13th and 29th Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, rapporteur general  of the Amazon Synod and President of Repam, sent two letters sub secreto to all the bishops, to increase their awareness of the forthcoming release of Pope Francis’ text. In the second of these letters, the Brazilian Cardinal  attached a link to paragraph 111 of the Amazon Synod’s final document, implying that it would have been part of the Post-Synod Exhortation. The introduction of viri probati was supposed to begin in some regions of the Amazon and then later be extended to the universal Church.   Not only a mutable “ecclesiastical discipline would have been liquidated [by this], but the law of the Church founded on a Divine-Apostolic precept as well. However, in the Post-Synod Exhortation Querida Amazonia, not only is paragraph 111 absent, but also no paragraph whatsoever of the Synod’s Final Document is mentioned; the opposite of what happened with Amoris laetitia, which cited the Relatio finalis of the 2015 Synod about eighty times in its notes. It is true that in paragraph 3 of his Exhortation, Pope Francis suggests reading the Synod Document, in the hope that the Church may be “ ‘enriched’ by the work of the Assembly”, but the absence of any specific mention of passages or paragraphs of the Amazon Synod is the acknowledgement of its failure. The Pan-Amazon Synod is reduced to a fleeting dream, “a text – as Andrea Tornielli writes –written like a love-letter”.
Cardinal Hummes’ letter to the bishops, which the Pope was certainly not unaware of, confirms how Pope Francis himself had deferred his choice until the very last, at the impetus of two opposing pressures: on one part, the Germanic-Amazonian Bishops, on the other, orthodox Catholics, who hailed the co-authored book by Cardinal Sarah and Benedict XVI, From the Depth of Our Hearts, published in the month of January, as a “manifesto”. This second impetus prevailed and the absence of Cardinal Hummes at the press conference for the presentation, proves to be significant. The Cardinal is in San Paolo, Brazil, where the protest against the Post-Synod Exhortation is bound to occur.
Nonetheless, in his meeting with journalists on January 28th 2019, during the flight back from Panama, Pope Francis had made a distinction between two personal convictions in favour of celibacy and what – he said – might be necessary for the Church, from a pastoral point of view.     
On that occasion the Pope had cited a book by the Emeritus Bishop of Aliwal (South Africa), Fritz Lobinger, (Teams of Elders. Moving Beyond Viri Probati) which suggested the introduction of two types of priests in the Church: the first celibate, full time; the second married, with a family. The Osservatore Romano of February 6th, 2019 re-launched the “proposal for the priests of tomorrow” devised by Bishop Lobinger, implying that the Amazon Synod would have endorsed it.   
This did not happen and the displeasure in the progressive milieu is bound to explode. The Querida Amazonia, unlike Amoris laetitia, does not mark the disruptive  “turning point” announced by Monsignor Franz-Josef Overbeck, Bishop of Essen, whereby, after the Bishops’ Synod on the Amazon “nothing would be the same again”.  But what especially should not be forgotten is that Pope Francis’ Exhortation is virtually coincident to the start of the German Bishops’ synodal path. At their gathering in Frankfurt,  they insisted on the call for the two forms of the priesthood -  for the celibate and the married. The Querida Amazonia, appears, in this context, like a slap-in-the -face to the German Episcopal Conference.
Some will remember at this point Pope Francis’ strategy of “two steps forward and one backwards”  but when a train travels at high speed, an abrupt braking can cause it to derail, putting an end to the journey in a dramatic way. The revolutionary process is a social machine that often becomes uncontrollable and sweeps its drivers away. “The Revolution devours its children” This famous sentence which the Girondist, Pierre Victurnien Vergniaud (1753-1793) uttered before the Jacobin Court  condemning him to death, is the key to understanding the heterogenesis ends of every action which strays from truth and order.  
Also the demonstration of the Acies ordinata Catholics in Munich of Bavaria, reveals its great importance after the Post-Synod Exhortation of February 12th. Coinciding with the Querida Amazonia, Cardinal Reinhold Marx, announced that he will depart his office as President of the German Episcopal Conference. Observers connect this act to the strong pressures against the synodal process the Archbishop of Munich received over the last few months.  Among the opposition cited is that by the Cardinal Archbishop of Cologne, Rainer Maria Woelki, the “fraternal correction” endured from  the Ukrainian Bishops of the Latin Rite and the accusations of Acies ordinata, at their press conference on January 18th, in his very own diocese.  
In opposition to the German Bishops’ synodal path which would lead them towards a new church, separated from the Catholic Apostolic and Roman Church, Acies ordinate made a public profession of faith in Munich with the recitation of the Credo. Today, Acies ordinata is the symbol of all those who are fighting in an orderly manner the forces of chaos in the Church, by standing with the rosary in hand, their eyes fixed on the enemy, as St. Ambrose exhorts: “The soldier stands in battle alert, not seated; the armed soldier does not sit reclined, but stands very erect. For this it is said to the soldiers of Christ: ‘Behold now, bless the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord, who stand in the house of the Lord’” (Comment on 12 Psalms, Città Nuova, Rome 1980, Psalm I, n. 27, p. 69).
Translation: Contributor Francesca Romana


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